Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club
Division of Public Programs
Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club explores the connection between African American artist Jacob Lawrence and his contemporaries based in West Africa through the Nigerian publication Black Orpheus. The exhibition features over 125 objects, including Lawrence’s little-known 1964–65 Nigeria series, works by the artists featured in Black Orpheus, archival images, videos, and letters.
The Mbari Artists & Writers Club was an artistic organization of Nigerian-based artists, writers, and dramatists promoting modern African and international artistic practice. The core of the exhibition centers on the Mbari arts and culture magazine Black Orpheus (1957–67). The publication was one of the main vehicles for circulating fictional and non-fictional writings by African and African Diaspora writers. It also included reviews of international visual artists from throughout the African continent, India, Brazil, Japan, Austria, U.S., and Germany.
Read about the Black Orpheus exhibition and Jacob Lawrence's Nigeria series of paintings and drawings at NEH's magazine, Humanities.
See the NEH-funded traveling exhibition Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club at:
Chrysler Museum of Art, October 7, 2022 — January 8, 2023
New Orleans Museum of Art, February 10–May 7, 2023
Toledo Museum of Art, June 3–September 3, 2023